I love it when various conversations in my life converge and especially when it has to do with an upcoming sermon! As we continue our sermon series this week on John Ortberg’s If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, we will talk about the scary prospects of taking risks and needing help. But today my thoughts have been on the idea of what happens when we don’t think we have what it takes to handle what lies before us. We worry that we won’t be able to continue on or take the risk. We worry that we just aren’t the right person. Or we have gotten ourselves into a sticky wicket and we need help getting out of it. So many different scenarios where we aren’t brave, and we cry out for help because we have little confidence that we can handle it.
I have been thinking all day today on a quote from my morning devotional A Guide To Prayer For All Who Walk With God. The quote was from early 20th Century author Evelyn Underhill:
We can never forecast the path God’s energy of rescue will take. It is never any use saying to God, “I am getting desperate! Please answer my prayer by the next mail and please send a blank check” God will answer but not necessarily like that; more probably God will transform and use the unlikely looking material already in hand- the loves and the tiny fishes- looking up to Heaven and blessing it and making it do after all. – Evelyn Underhill, The Soul’s Delight
Making do. I love this perspective on the “path God’s energy of rescue will take” in our lives. How often did we have exactly what we needed from the very beginning. We look at ourselves as unlikely material. Even this week I had conversation with a person who was not feeling particularly confident about her ideas. But then when in a group setting in the midst of an important conversation in a meeting, she asked a wonderful question in a wonderful way so that her risky idea was well received. I thought then how God used that person who felt like “unlikely material” in order to start an important conversation. Making do with the material in hand.
Let’s not underestimate ourselves. More accurately, let’s not underestimate what God can do with and through us. Let’s not resist what God is trying to do through us. Otherwise we will block the most amazing transformation that only God can orchestrate. When life is asking us to take a risk- that might very well be the path of God’s energy getting ready to pulse into our heart beat in order to transform us into a moment of amazement.
Instead of listing all the reasons why not, let’s focus on all of the reasons why. After all, God has gifted each and every one of us in some way. Add to that giftedness a little bit of faith in God and confidence in God’s ways and we have an opportunity for some Holy Spirit magic. But we have to be willing to take a bit of risk. We have to be willing to risk failing. With that, we have to recognize that failing is not always a bad thing. God’s wisdom often times comes in the lessons learned from falling down. But when we fail or fall down, I hang on to the following Scripture as encouragement to get back up and a source of strength to carry on. May it offer you the same.
5 We don’t preach about ourselves. Instead, we preach about Jesus Christ as Lord, and we describe ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. 8 We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. 9 We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out....14 We do this because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus, and he will bring us into his presence along with you. 15 All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory. – 2 Corinthians 4:5-9, 14-15 (CEB)
Grace and Peace,